Egg quality is one of the key objectives for breeder and layer producers. It is defined by internal and external characteristics, such as shell integrity, texture, shape, colour, dirtiness, yolk and albumen quality, among others.
Strong eggshells insure easy storage and transport of the eggs. Certain markets will also favour a specific colour or size. Raising healthy animals with adequate mineral and nutritious profiles is crucial to obtain good quality eggs. Egg shell formation is highly complex, which means high risk for imperfections to arise in several places in the hens’ oviducts. Strain and age of hen, moulting, (heat) stress, diseases will also affect egg production and its quality. Nutrition is an important modulator, and several steps can be taken to improve and optimize eggshell quality.
Nutritional factors such as calcium, phosphorus, vitamins, water quality, non-starch polysaccharides, enzymes and toxin control are crucial. Pigments are used to optimize egg yolk colour to the preference of the market. Nutrition can also play an important role in optimizing the balance in the microbiota, resulting in better digestion of the feed and nutrient absorption. Use of probiotics for example improve egg shell quality and egg production performance.
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